It’s all but official — Michael Chandler is gearing up to battle Conor McGregor later this year. But, for the uninitiated, who is “Iron”?
McGregor took to Instagram at the turn of the new year to announce he’d meet Chandler in a 185-pound clash on June 29 during the UFC’s annual International Fight Week. The promotion has yet to confirm the meeting. But, considering the two have been linked since filming The Ultimate Fighter last year, and the Irishman has seemingly been champing at the bit to return, it’s likely that the contest will take place as “Notorious” said.
McGregor will look to bounce back from a two-fight skid, which includes his most recent loss when he was carted off with a broken leg to wrap his UFC 264 trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier in July 2021. And the man standing in his way is another electric striker with a do-or-die attitude.
Since signing with the UFC in 2020, the former Bellator lightweight champion has wracked up two high-profile victories over Tony Ferguson and Dan Hooker while notching several post-fight bonuses. Although three losses have kept him from securing gold in the UFC, Chandler is touted as one of the most exciting athletes in the sport and one of the most decorated.
In a professional mixed martial arts record that dates back to 2009, the 37-year-old father and husband has put together a 23-9 record with 11 wins via KO/TKO, seven by submission, and five via decision. Iron was one of the faces of Bellator for years, and he had a fruitful career with the organization which saw him earn the 155-pound strap on three separate occasions.
Chandler’s background as a NCAA Division 1 wrestler helped propel him to the top of the lightweight charts. But it’s been his fearless striking and raw power that’s made him one of the biggest stars in the sport. His knockout over Ferguson at UFC 274 in May 2022 stood as one of the most brutal triumphs of the year, and his back-and-forth tilt with Justin Gaethje in November 2021 at UFC 268 earned many publications’ “Fight of the Year” honors.
Iron’s two-fight series with former UFC and Bellator lightweight king Eddie Alvarez is revered by hardcore fans, and even in his losses, like when he failed to capture the UFC’s vacant 155-pound crown in May 2021 by falling to Charles Oliveira, Chandler is a man known for putting on incredibly violent entertainment.
Both Chandler and McGregor are known for their aggressive nature, especially in the opening round. So, expect nothing short of fireworks if their contest goes down in June — it’s a fight destined to end before the final buzzer.